‘Speed daters’ focus talk on the bedroom
Four families have swapped homes as a result of a groundbreaking Banbury ‘speed dating’ event to alleviate Governmental reforms.
Housing provider Sanctuary is using inventive methods to tackle issues arising from the controversial ‘bedroom tax’, which will see working-age people deemed to have unused bedrooms face financial penalties.
The Welfare Reform Act, due to come into force on April 1, will see cuts to the amount of benefit people receive if they are deemed to have a spare bedroom in their council or housing association home.
Late last year, 25 residents gathered at a speed dating session the association held at its Banbury offices with the aim of bringing together under-occupiers and over-occupiers who could potentially take part in a mutual exchange.
Housing officer Ria Armstrong, who organised the event with her colleague Michelle Lewis, said: “In true speed dating tradition, over-occupiers were given three minutes to discuss both their current property and their desired property, before moving on to the next residents looking to downsize. Potential exchanges were noted down and for each ‘match’, we issued application forms, arranged viewings and encouraged residents to swap contact details.”
The event has resulted in several positive outcomes.
One exchange will see a family of four currently in a two bedroom house swapping with a family of three in a three-bedroom property.
In Cherwell, 907 households have been notified that they are potentially affected by the change. Councillor Ken Atack, lead member for financial management, said: “Last autumn we contacted all social landlords operating in our area to obtain information about the number of bedrooms in each of their properties.
“This was compared with the information we already held to identify those households that are deemed to have too many bedrooms and the number of “excess” bedrooms. This determines whether the claimant is subject to a 14 or 25 per cent reduction in the eligible rent.”
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Weather for Banbury
Saturday 25 May 2013
Temperature: 5 C to 15 C
Wind Speed: 13 mph
Wind direction: North
Temperature: 6 C to 18 C
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